Yes, it's really a baby!
There is a genuine interest and curiosity about you and the baby, and you are likely to be asked when baby is due, if you know the sex, and if it’s your first. Other people's excitement can be contagious and often serves as a reminder that there really is something big about to happen.
The other benefit is that you don’t need to offer too many excuses if you just want to have a little rest and opt out of a social function. This is especially true in summer when the sheer discomfort of being heavily pregnant can make it particularly challenging.
Your physical changes this week
Colostrum may be leaking from your nipples this week. You may notice it has dried and crusted on your nipples when you take your bra off. Your breasts are even heavier and streaked with blue veins. Make sure you have been fitted correctly for comfortable maternity bras. These will alleviate the pressure of your heavy breasts on your chest and shoulders.
The amniotic fluid surrounding your baby is at a peak in week 35 and will start to diminish from now on. This fluid is known as "the waters" and it has a distinctive odor which is very different to urine. It is easy for pregnant mothers to be confused if they are leaking urine or amniotic fluid at this stage of their pregnancy. If you are in any doubt that your membranes may have ruptured, check with your pregnancy care provider. They will be able to test the fluid and establish which it is.
Your heart may feel as if it is missing beats or beating faster this week. Because of the displacement of your large blood vessels and the load on your heart, palpitations are very common. If you develop chest pain or problems breathing though, check with your provider immediately.
Your emotional changes this week
You may be a little weepy and prone to emotional meltdowns this week. Your aching legs and back just seem to sap your energy and you don’t feel like doing much at all. Give in to your body's signals that it wants a break, and go easy on yourself. Rest up for a couple of days if you can. You're still not quite at the very end of your pregnancy, so nurture yourself until you feel better.
It may be getting hard to remember that pregnancy is a healthy, normal state in a woman's life. It can seem like an uncomfortable burden at times but in healthy, fertile women, pregnancy is a completely natural state. Normalize it and avoid seeing your pregnancy as being something unnatural or which needs to be medicalized.
Your baby's changes this week
Baby will still be gaining around 1 pound this week, laying down fat cells which will provide insulation in the early days of life. Most babies lose weight in the first week or so after birth, because of using more energy. By two weeks after birth though, most have regained their birth weight or are on the way there.
Baby is around 19 inches long this week. The energy he has been putting into expanding his length will now be refocused on weight gain. There won’t be much of an increase in his length other than an inch or so in the last few weeks until he is born.
Less big rolling type movements are coming from Baby now. There simply isn’t the space for him to move around as easily as it was a couple of weeks ago. If you feel there is a change in his patterns of movements or they become less frequent, check with your pregnancy care provider. You are the best judge when it comes to knowing your baby's activity so never feel as if you won’t be taken seriously.
Hints for the week
You might want to invest in some plastic sheeting to place on your mattress. If your waters break while you're in bed, you’ll be glad you did. Keep a towel in the car as well, just in case you’ll need it. If a mother's waters break when the baby's head is still high, there tends to be more of a gush of fluid than if the baby's head is engaged in their pelvis.
If you haven’t already drawn up a birth plan, think about doing one now. Give some thought to the kind of birth you want to have and who you want to be with you when you birth your baby. Remember that there are no guarantees when it comes to childbirth and the priority always needs to be your health and wellbeing and that of your baby.
Look at your list of baby names and review what appeals to you. What you truly loved a couple of months ago may have been relegated to the "no way" column. If you and your partner cannot agree, just give it time. Don’t underestimate the power of your baby in causing you to think of a name which hasn't even occurred to you yet. "She/He looks like a ..." is a common statement in labor wards across the world.
Week 36 is next!
The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.